No one speaks the language of suspense more brilliantly than Kathy Reichs, author of the acclaimed Temperance Brennan series. In Speaking in Bones, the forensic anthropologist finds herself drawn into a world of dark secrets and dangerous beliefs, where good and evil blur.
Professionally, Temperance Brennan knows exactly what to do—test, analyze, identify. Her personal life is another story. She’s at a loss, wondering how to answer police detective Andrew Ryan’s marriage proposal. But the matter of matrimony takes a backseat when murder rears its head.
Hazel “Lucky” Strike—a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases—comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab.
Brennan has doubts about working with a self-styled websleuth. But when the evidence seems to add up, Brennan’s next stop is the treacherous backwoods where the chilling recording (and maybe Cora Teague’s bones) were discovered. Her forensic field trip only turns up more disturbing questions—along with gruesome proof of more untimely deaths.
While local legends of eerie nocturnal phenomena and sinister satanic cults abound, it’s a zealous and secretive religious sect that has Brennan spooked and struggling to separate the saints from the sinners. But there’s nothing, including fire and brimstone, that can distract her from digging up the truth and taking down a killer—even as Brennan finds herself in a place where angels fear to tread, devils demand their due, and she may be damned no matter what.
Praise for Speaking in Bones
“Speaking in Bones keeps the suspense high.”—Associated Press
“Temperance’s forensic sleuthing uncovers many secrets, along with a blockbuster psychological surprise.”—The Huffington Post
About the Author
Hometown:Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Québec
Place of Birth:Chicago, Illinois
Education:B.A., American University, 1971; M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University
Read an Excerpt
“I’m unbound now. My wrists and ankles burn from the straps. My ribs are bruised and there’s a lump behind my ear. I don’t remember hitting my head. I’m lying very still because my whole body aches. Like I’ve been in a wreck. Like the time I crashed my bike. Why doesn’t my family save me? Is no one missing me? I have only my family. No friends. It was just too hard. I’m all alone. So alone. How long have I been here? Where is here? The whole world is slipping away. Everything. Everyone. Am I awake or asleep? Am I dreaming or is this real? Is it day or night?
“When they return they will hurt me again. Why? Why is this happening to me? I can’t hear a sound. No. That’s not true. I can hear my heart beating. Blood working inside my ears. I taste something bitter. Probably vomit stuck in my teeth. I smell cement. My own sweat. My dirty hair. I hate when my hair isn’t washed. I’m gonna open my eyes now. Got one. The other’s crusted shut. Can’t see much. It’s all blurry, like I’m looking up from way down underwater.
“I hate the waiting. That’s when the pictures take over my brain. Not sure if they’re memories or hallucinations. I see him. Always in black, his face crazy red and beaded with sweat. I avoid his eyes. Keep looking at his shoes. Shiny shoes. The candle flame’s a little yellow worm dancing on the leather. He stands over me, all big and nasty. Thrusts his horrid, smelly face close to mine. I feel his icky breath on my skin. He gets mad and yanks me by the hair. His veins go all bulgy. He screams and his words sound like they’re coming from another planet. Or like I’ve left my body and I’m listening from far away. I see his hand coming at me, clutching the thing so tight it quivers. I know I’m shaking but I’m numb. Or am I dead?
“No! Not now! Don’t let it happen now!
“My hands are going all cold and tingly. I shouldn’t be talking about him. I shouldn’t have said he was horrid.
“Yes. They’re coming.
“Why is this happening to me? What did I do? I’ve always tried to be good. Tried to do what Mama said. Don’t let them kill me! Mama, please don’t let them kill me!
“My mind is going all fuzzy. I have to stop talking.”
Silence, then the click-creak of a door opening. Closing.
Footsteps, unhurried, firm on the floor.
“Take your place.”
“Don’t resist me.”
“Leave me alone!”
The cadence of frantic breathing.
The thunk of a blow.
“Please don’t kill me.”
“Do as I say.”
Sound as if dragging.
“Are you in my hands?”
“Filthy bitch!” Louder, deeper.
A soft rasp.
The tic of metal snapping into place.
“You will die, slut!”
“Will you answer me now?”
The drumming of agitated fingers. Scratching.
“Give me what I need!”
Pfff! The violent hurling of spit.
“You will not answer?”
“This has only begun.”
Click-creak. The furious slam of a door.
Absolute stillness. Soft sobbing.
“Please don’t kill me.
“Please don’t kill me.
The woman’s knuckles bulged pale under skin that was cracked and chapped. Using one knobby finger, she depressed a button on the object in the Ziploc.
The room went still.
I sat motionless, the hairs on my neck lifted like grass in a breeze.
The woman’s eyes stayed hard on mine. They were green flecked with yellow, and made me think of a cat. A cat that could bide, then pounce with deadly accuracy.
I let the silence stretch. Partly to calm my own nerves. Mostly to encourage the woman to explain the purpose of her visit. I had flight reservations in just a few hours. So much to do before heading to the airport. To Montreal and Ryan. I didn’t need this. But I had to know the meaning of the terrible sounds I’d just heard.
The woman remained angled forward in her chair. Tense. Expectant. She was tall, at least six feet, and wore boots, jeans, and a denim shirt with the cuffs rolled up her lower arms. Her hair was dyed the color of the clay at Roland Garros. She’d yanked it into a bun high on her head.
My eyes broke free from the cat-gaze and drifted to the wall at the woman’s back. To a framed certificate declaring Temperance Brennan a diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. D-ABFA. The exam had been a bitch.
I was alone with my visitor in the 120 square feet allocated to the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s consulting forensic anthropologist. I’d left the door open. Not sure why. Usually I close it. Something about the woman made me uneasy.
Familiar workplace sounds drifted in from the corridor. A ringing phone. A cooler door whooshing open then clicking shut. A rubber-wheeled gurney rolling toward an autopsy suite.
“I’m sorry.” I was pleased that my voice sounded calm. “The receptionist provided your name but I’ve misplaced my note.”
“Strike. Hazel Strike.”
That caused a little ping in my brain. What?
“Folks call me Lucky.”
I said nothing.
“But I never rely on luck. I work hard at what I do.” Though I guessed Strike’s age at somewhere north of sixty, her voice was still twentysomething strong. The accent suggested she was probably local.
“And what is it you do, Ms. Strike?”
“Mrs. My husband passed six years back.”
“He knew the risk, chose to smoke.” Slight lift of one shoulder. “You pay the price.”
“What is it you do?” I repeated, wanting to draw Strike back on point.
“Send the dead home.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“I match bodies to people gone missing.”
“That is the task of law enforcement in conjunction with coroners and medical examiners,” I said.
“And you pros nail it every time.”
I bit back another priggish response. Strike had a point. Stats I’d read put the number of missing persons in the United States at around 90,000 at any given time, the number of unidentified remains from the past fifty years at more than 40,000. The last count I saw placed the North Carolina UID total at 115.
“How can I help you, Mrs. Strike?”
Strike placed the Ziploc beside a bright yellow case file on my blotter. In it was a gray plastic rectangle, roughly one inch wide, two inches long, and a half inch thick. A metal ring at one end suggested dual functions as a recorder and a key chain. A loop of faded denim suggested the device had once hung from the waistband of a pair of jeans.
“Impressive little gizmo,” Strike said. “Voice activated. Two-gigabyte internal flash memory. Sells for less than a hundred bucks.”
The yellow folder called to me. Accusingly. Two months earlier a man had died in his recliner, TV remote clutched in one hand. The previous weekend his mummified corpse had been found by a very unhappy landlord. I needed to wrap this up and get back to my analysis. Then home to packing and the delivery of my cat to the neighbor.
But those voices. My pulse was still struggling to return to normal. I waited.
“The recording lasts almost twenty-three minutes. But the five you heard is plenty to get the drift.” Strike gave a tight shake of her head. Which reangled the bun to an off-center tilt. “Scares the patootie out of you, don’t it?”
“The audio is disturbing.” An understatement.
“Perhaps you should play it for the police.”
“I’m playing it for you, Doc.”
“I believe I heard three voices?” Curiosity was overcoming my reticence to engage. And apprehension.
“That’s my take. Two men and the girl.”
“What was happening?”
“Who was speaking?”
“Only got a theory on one.”
“And that is?”
“Can we back up a bit?”
I brushed my eyes past my watch. Not as discreetly as I thought.
“Unless you’re not ‘tasked’ with sticking names on the dead.” Strike hooked sarcastic finger quotes around the term I’d used moments earlier.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Up until the last few chapters, I would have given the book 5 stars. The problem is that it is absurd to think Brennan would be as stupid as she is portrayed in those last few chapters. I think Reichs took the easy way out to find an ending and didn't consider how badly it fit the character and the series. Still, I am looking forward to the next book. Stephanie Clanahan
I have enjoyed all of the Kathy Reich books and was looking forward to the release of this book. So disappointed!!!
I couldn't put it down. Literally. Sat up all night to get to the conclusion . Was well worth it too.
“You have no positive ID on any of the Brown Mountain remains. You have no DNA…..You have no known victim, no primary scene, no weapon, no motive, no witnesses, no legit suspect. You don’t know for sure if Cora Teague is dead. Or even missing” Speaking in Bones is the eighteenth full-length novel in the Tempe Brennan series by American forensic anthropologist and author, Kathy Reichs. Tempe finds herself intrigued and horrified by the somewhat dubious evidence that Hazel Strike (aka Lucky) presents to convince her that a set of her unidentified remains (UIDs) could belong to a victim of torture. Cora Teague has not been seen since 2011, but her family don’t consider her missing: that claim comes from a poster on the CLUES website going by the handle of OMG; the post attracted Lucky Strike, a dedicated Websleuther with a successful ID attributed to her work. Against the considered advice of her own colleagues, of Ryan and of the Deputy initially involved in the case, and even against her own better judgement, Tempe heads for the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Multiple visits there uncover further clues to the identity of the UID, but also put Tempe’s life in danger. More bones, some religious fanatics, a well-trained sniffer dog and a few interesting artefacts are encountered. At the same time, Tempe is distracted by her mother, Daisy’s behaviour, and careful consideration of Ryan’s unexpected proposal. In this instalment, Reichs explores the preserving properties of pine sap, the reason a corpse might be devoid of fingerprints, exorcism, the inadequacies of systems for dealing with Missing Persons and Unidentified remains, and the growing phenomenon of Websleuthing. A fundamentalist splinter group of mainstream religion, a certain rare disease state and mental illness also feature. If Reichs could just dispense with two minor irritations that seem to be de rigeur for every Tempe Brennan novel, then these books would be pretty much perfect. 1. It’s really not necessary to end so many chapters with a cliff-hanger sentence: these books are page-turners already so there is no need to resort to this sort of gimmick. 2. Just once it would be nice to see Tempe restrain her impatience and not rush headlong into a dangerous situation without backup. After all, she’s an intelligent woman: would she really be this stupid time after time? Nonetheless, this is an excellent read.
Numerous twists and turns
I've read only one other 'Bones' novel and I've never watched a complete episode of the television series (though my wife and son watched it quite frequently). I find, however, that in the now two books that I've read, I really enjoy these stories. If you're not familiar with the concept at all, Temperance Brennan is a brilliant forensic anthropologist working for a Big Name museum that resembles The Smithsonian but has a different name. Due to her work, she gets consulted by authorities to study unidentified remains, which of course gets her involved in solving crimes of all sorts. In this book, Speaking in Bones, the 18th book in the series, her mystery is not brought to her by her boyfriend, FBI agent Andrew Ryan, but an internet 'web sleuth' - someone who tries to solve unsolved crimes but is not connected to law enforcement in any way. Brennan has a number of unidentified remains at her work, some of them available for online study (the information about them, at least) and Hazel "Lucky" Strike believes she's found a match for one of them. The problem, Hazel and Temperance discover, is that the young woman (who Hazel believes the remains to be) was never reported missing by her family or friends. The family, in fact, believe the girl ran off on her own and is alive somewhere - they just don't know (and don't care) where that is. Without a missing persons report, it is difficult to get the necessary information and DNA samples to make the identification. There's clearly something unusual going on and Temperance wants to know what it is, and to help make another identification, if possible. But is Hazel's work to this point even valid enough to follow through on? And without a missing persons report, the authorities can't get involved. I really liked the direction that this story took and that we get to see Temperance really working out here on her own. Although I will admit that I was surprised by how much she still relies on her mother to get her through some of her life. There's a sub-plot involving Ryan that has clearly started in an earlier book. The whole relationship status was a bit of a distraction for me, going in to this book without the benefit of a lot of the back story, but I can at least see where this ongoing story could be a real draw for some readers. It just didn't work for me. I liked this book quite a bit and I look forward to reading more of the 'Bones' series. Looking for a good book? Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs, the eighteenth book in a series, is a solid mystery with believable characters and science and an enjoyable read. But you'll want to read the earlier books if following the romance is important to you. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
A very descriptive and well performed book.
What happened to Cora Teague? And Hazel Strike? And what about the love life of Temperance Brennan? Read this book and you will find out. Kathy Reichs, again, has written a terrific story. If you have enjoyed her previous novels, you will enjoy this one, which also includes the Novella, Bones on Ice. Reichs researches well and knows her subject matter. If you enjoy the TV show, Bones, you will enjoy this book. I recommend it to all her readers and to some “first-timers” who may enjoy this type of mystery.
Title: Speaking In Bones - Temperance Brennan 18 Author: Kathy Reichs Published: 7-21-2015 Publisher: Random House / Bantam Dell Pages: 482 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Series; Crime Fiction; Murder ISBN: 9780345544049 ASIN: B00RKVQOLA Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4 1/2 Stars . Kathy Reichs has a good reason as to why he Temperance Brennan is so believable as a forensic anthropologist. It is a career she has practiced for years. Although this is the latest in a series. Speaking in Bones can easily be read as a stand-alone. In this offering Temperance has a lot on her mind. Hazel Strike, AKA Lucky is an amateur cyber detective who brings Temperance the audio recording of a young girl being terrorized. Lucky believes the girl is case of Cora Teague, a girl that supposedly went missing three years previously. But no one her missing to the police. Temperance begins looking into it by going to the backwoods where the recording and the bones Hazel thinks are Coras were first found. All she finds are more questions and more bones. With rumors of Satanic cult and a fanatical Religious sect to deal with Temperance finds danger everywhere she looks. Not to mention the marriage proposal from Ryan, Temperance is having second and third thoughts over accepting. As always Kathy Reichs Temperance is strong and confident when it comes to her work, but timid in her personal life. the plot of the story flow smoothly and as a whole moves quickly. There is one place towards the front of the book that is a bit lengthy with descriptive dialog that has you working at keeping your eyes open, which is a rarity for Reichs books but I was glad to see the scene to end and move on to more interesting topics. This is a wonderful story that I enjoyed reading and I think you will as well. My rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
This book is # 18 in the Temperance Brennan series. This book does well as a standalone novel. It is a bit easier to understand when read in order with the given series. Temperence Brennan has another string of murders that get her into a situation again in this current installment of the police procedural series. It starts off with the sinister crime and victim, making all who read it scared from the start. My love for the books and the characters has not changed. I am however, at a place where I feel the storyline is getting a bit too regular. I want Temperance to choose a man, be more aware of what she is doing, and maybe show more character development after all these books. Otherwise, it is a good mystery novel to read. ***This ARC copy was provided by Netgalley.com and its publisher for review purposes only.
I am a huge fan of Temperance Brennan and Kathy Reichs, so I am always eager for the next book, Speaking in Bones. How Kathy Reichs is able to come up with a fresh case of crime is always a pleasure for me to read about. This time, we have some help, or do we? Websleuths – amateurs compete online to solve cold cases. Hazel (Lucky) Strike, one of the websleuths thinks she knows who the unidentified body is and calls Temperance to tell her. She thinks it is a woman by the name of Cora Teague. Little did Hazel realize, she should have kept a low profile. Ryan and Temperance make a fantastic team, but are plagued with personal problems. He had walked away, but was back, proposing marriage. What answer will Temperance give him? Temperance’s mother is alone, fighting cancer and loves a mystery. She’s an insomniac and deft at searching the internet. I love this strong and determined character. She does not dwell on the bad, but continues living. She discovers something and places a call to Temperance, early in the morning, jolting her into work mode. The explanations for some of the technical aspects make it easy to follow along. Even if I don’t understand everything, I don’t feel it hurts the story in any way. Speaking in Bones is another great mystery and I love following along with Temperance as she discovers the answers. Her relationship with Ryan keeps me wondering…when will they finally get together. I have always believed they would. They are perfect for each other..yin and yang. Imagine never knowing where your loved one is, just gone. Thank goodness Temperance never gives up until she has the answers. So much is going on that I struggle to predetermine the outcome. Not knowing what the ending will be keeps me waiting for her next book, her next unknown study in the evil that men/women do. I received of copy of Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs in return for an honest review. To see more visit http://www.funinmental.com
This is my first read from Kathy Reichs and it was for the most part a pretty good read. It was fast paced, which I liked and had a very interesting story line. The characters really did help carry the story for me and I was about to picture the scenes in my head. Even though this wasnt my usual kind of read it was a good break from what I have been reading.
150 pages would have been enough to tell this wandering tail. It weaves and winds on a road to nowhere. So much bloat. I think the author lost interest in writing this book and just went with whatever she thought of from one day to the next. I'm finished spending money on the Bones series.
And Ms. Reich’s did it again! The reader gets exactly what he is expecting. If you are a fan of Tempe and Ryan you will not be disappointed. There is enough mystery to make the book new and interesting and enough familiarity to feel comfortable right from the start. Long running series often struggle with issues of repeating or they tend to get boring. This author is one of the few that manages to avoid those problems. Her writing is flawless and fluent . She manages to give each Book a little something new, just enough to keep the reader interested at all times. I was introduced to this author by a friend long before the books became a TV series and I have to admit that I do not like the TV series very much (even if I have “a thing” for the male lead). I never understood why it was choosen to change the charcters so much for the TV setting – but this is a story for another time. Coming back to the book. I can honestly recommend to read this book to all fans of the series. Due to its plot it could be read as a standalone but due to all the private connections of the characters I suggest reading the books in the right order.
Having read previous books in this series I knew the type of the writing that Kathy did and knew for the most part what to expect. However, as usual Kathy continues to get better and better choosing very gripping story lines that are catchy. She grabbed you from the very first paragraphs of the book and keeps you until the end because you want to find out what happened to the victim and who the killer is. The story truly turns out totally different then you thought it was going to. However, if there was one area in her books that I can sometimes feel myself lost as a reader and stop me from reading is when she goes to far in depth with the medical terms. I think at times she can go overboard describing medical items in the book where she could have made it simpler. Lastly, the thing that I enjoy most about the Temperence Brennnan series from Kathy Reich's is to see how much Bones has grown from the very first book. Point in case would be this quote below that is my favorite from this book: "I don't need you in my life, Ryan. I learned to live without you once. Twice. I didn't like it, but i survived. I don't need protection. I don't need a bodyguard. I need someone who will be there, both physically and emotionally. When life is good, and when life gets rough." Temperence has grown from a person who closed her feelings off after being hurt to opening them up again to love. She mixes mystery/thriller/romance into one book which can be rough if not done right.
I have been waiting for this book and she did not let me down. There was a great mystery and a wonderful storyline with Daisy and Tempe. I look forward to each of her books and can't wait for the next book to see how the business is going.
This was a good mystery, full of twists, and fast paced. Tempe thinks she knows who killed Hazel and who the remains belong to only to find herself proven wrong. I was kept guessing right along with her. While I really enjoyed the mystery, Tempe's indecision regarding her on again / off again relationship with Detective Ryan was starting to get to me. There was some resolution on that front near the end though, which is why the book gets 4 stars from me instead of 3. ***Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review***
Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist (which in my opinion has got to be a fascinating career). It is interesting following Temperance around both in her personal and professional life. She has quite an on/off relationship with police detective Andrew Ryan. But, when she meets a web sleuth, things start getting almost as interesting as “Lucky Strike” is. Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author) "Fighting the Devil" - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder
Speaking in Bones is classic Kathy Reich's, and her fans will love it. While the story works as a stand alone, the interaction of the characters requires back story. For those of us who have read every book, no explanation is required. Great read! Please keep them coming
Not one of her better efforts. The evidence in the beginning is extremely weak, and certainly not enough to begin an investigation. Brennan still cannot commit or reject Ryan while treating him poorly. One wonders why he does not simply walk away. Ryan is not part of the investigation which diminishes the investigation. The best Brennan novels are when she works closely with Ryan. She is partnered up with a new character, Deputy Ramsey . He is a weak addition. Near the end, Brennan goes "cowboy" in a foolish and dangerous manner. Her actions certainly belie her assertions that she doesn't need a bodyguard and needs to be her own woman. Without the interventions of others this would have been the end of Brennan. Finally, there is an event 3/4s of the way through the book which seems to resolve a big question and will change the future path. Then suddenly at the conclusion of the book without any explanation of what changes things the main characters have changed again.